a waterhole in Upper Ze'elim Wadi.

The Short Season of Upper Wadi Ze’elim

Well, in fact, we have a long season of hiking (and other desert activities) in the Judean Desert. Even that trail, which has a relatively short season is good for few months a year for

those who enjoy jumping into these cold waterholes.

taking a breath. refreshing in a waterhole in upper Zeelim
Just take into account that the water is extremely cold

The thing is that the upper part of the wadi is just of the area of Judean Desert Nature Reserve. Therefore, herds of sheep and goats driven by shepherds on donkey backs, are allowed in. That will mean, that few weeks after the flash flood, they come in, and the place in loaded with excrement (not to say full of shit). It is not too bad, but the water get to dirty to go into.

In case we're lucky - we will have it washed few times in a winter, but one never knows, if the wadi will wash again this winter or not. It may happen few more times, and it might not happen at all. That's for sure.

One has to see a flash flood, in order to realize that it really washes all the shit away (well, we have an issue with the plastic shit - but that's not for now).

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Some Technicalities

So here's the map. The starting point, Birkat Tzfira campground is accessible by all cars from Arad-Masada road (3199). It takes around 3 hrs walk , but the idea is to spend some time stopping for tea or coffee, getting into the water or just enjoying the wild desert.

You definitely want to consider hiking it clockwise, and adding a jump to Birkat Tzfira (Tzfira Pool) at the end.

And as always: hiking boots, hat, snacks, and most important: drinking water.

* Wadi - refers to a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain (Wikipedia)

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